Major Super PACs Spent Big on Deceptive Ads

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According to a new report from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, four super PACs spent over half of their advertising budgets on deceptive ads in the Republican presidential primary. Spending estimates from Kantar Media CMAG and research by FactCheck.org reveals that 23.3 million (56.7%) of the 41.1 million dollars was spent on “19 ads containing deceptive or misleading claims.”

The study focused on the ad buys of four super PACs: “The Red White and Blue Fund,” “Winning Our Future,” “Restore Our Future,” (ROF) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Romney’s super PAC, “Restore Our Future,” outspent the pro-Gingrich and pro-Santorum super PACs by a margin of 20 to 1. Those groups spent an estimated $2.5 million on deceptive ads attacking Mitt Romney.

If you’re curious about the Restore Our Future ads, don’t look for them on the ROF YouTube channel. Yesterday, Politico reported that the independent group founded by ex-staffers and other friends of the former governor has “scrubbed its YouTube channel of all but two” of the primary ads.

The ones that are left are a contrast spot about Romney and President Barack Obama and one about Romney helping a Bain official search for a teenaged daughter who’d disappeared in New York City. That spot, the best of the 2008 cycle for Romney, was made by Larry McCarthy for the campaign back then. McCarthy is now with ROF.

If that piques your curiosity, NPR points out that even though the ads are unavailable on ROF’s YouTube channel, plenty of others have reposted the ads on YouTube.

Find out more about the content of all the deceptive ads and how much they cost at FlackCheck.org.

(And congratulations to FactCheck.org on their Webby award! Well done.)

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